Yorkshire Vikings v Birmingham Bears
Vitality Blast, North Group
Friday July 1, 2022, 6.30pm
Toss: Yorkshire won it and elected to bowl.
Teams: Yorkshire - Lyth, Allen, Kohler-Cadmore w, Malan, Brook, Willey c, Khan, Thompson, Waite, Revis, Bess.
Birmingham: Stirling, Davies w, Hain, Hose, Mousley, Benjamin w, Brathwaite c, Lintott, Briggs, Stone, Miles.
Match summary: Yorkshire were beaten by 31 runs in a run-fest, meaning they go into the Sunday’s final game at Leicestershire with their qualification still hanging in the balance.
Birmingham posted 238-5 thanks to half-centuries at either end of their innings from Paul Stirling and Dan Mousley. It was the fourth highest total in this season’s Blast and the highest Yorkshire have ever conceded.
But the Vikings chased hard. At stages, they were on course for the win, but slipped to 207 all out, including Adam Lyth’s 69 off 38 balls.
It means that Yorkshire are fourth in the group on 15 points, one point clear of Northants in fifth and Leicester in sixth.
Northants have finished their campaign, so are eliminated. Yorkshire, importantly, have a far superior net run-rate, the first separator when teams finish level on points. So if Yorkshire avoid defeat at Grace Road, they are through. A win, tie or No Result does it.
The Vikings can still finish in the top two for a home quarter-final. A win against the Foxes and defeats for third-placed Derbyshire at home to Durham and Lancashire in second at home to group winners Birmingham achieves that.
Report: This was a game filled with runs, runs and more runs. 445 of them to be precise.
Paul Stirling and Dan Mousley starred for Birmingham, invited to bat after a 35-minute delayed start, with 81 off 41 balls and a career best 63 off 25 balls.
?The stats through the Bears innings don’t make happy reading, but some context is important. Headingley has historically been a great batting track in T20 cricket, and these two sides have been amongst the heaviest scorers in this season’s Blast, regularly posting 200 plus totals.
Birmingham posted a Blast record 261-2 v Notts a couple of weeks ago, a record previously held by Yorkshire on this ground v Northants in 2017 (260-4).
The Bears posted 14 sixes, while 14 of the 20 overs went for double figure scores and only Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan went at under 10 runs per over amongst a six-man attack, returning 2-38 from four overs.
Khan broke a 42-run opening stand between Stirling and Alex Davies by getting the latter caught at short fine-leg in the fourth over and later had Sam Hain (25) caught behind after a 72-run partnership with Stirling. That left the visitors 114-2 in the 10th over.
David Willey trapped Stirling, who hit seven sixes, lbw before Dom Bess took a super catch running back from short fine-leg to help Matthew Revis dismiss Chris Benjamin, leaving the score 160-4 in the 15th.
But Mousley came in and crashed a 22-ball fifty as 51 came from the last three overs, pushing Birmingham up near 240.
In reply, Lyth and New Zealander Finn Allen took the Vikings to 51-0 in only 3.4 overs.
Allen reversed Danny Briggs for six hit a second off Bears captain Carlos Brathwaite in the fifth, only to get a leading edge to point for 29 later in the over, leaving the score at 67-1.
Lyth continued to impress and reached his fifty off 32 balls, by which time it was 104-2 in the 10th. In that over, Jake Lintott conceded 21, while fellow spinner Briggs conceded 16 off the next.
But Birmingham claimed two key wickets within three balls in the 11th and 12th overs, as the score became 133-4.
Lyth got a leading edge off left-armer Briggs to backward point and Tom Kohler-Cadmore pulled Brathwaite to deep midwicket.
Yorkshire were up against it from there, but not out of it.
Unfortunately, left-arm wrist spinner Lintott struck three times, including Harry Brook stumped for 29.
Brathwaite also struck again towards the end, him and Lintott finishing with three wickets apiece.
Turning point: Two wickets in three balls cost Yorkshire dear. In the 11th over of the chase, they had reached 133-2 with Adam Lyth going well. But he fell to Danny Briggs before Tom Kohler-Cadmore departed to Carlos Brathwaite in the 12th, leaving the score at 133-4.
Magic moment: A game in which 23 sixes were hit was dominated by the bat. But Dom Bess took a superb catch running back from short fine-leg to help Matthew Revis get rid of Chris Benjamin in Birmingham’s innings (160-4 in the 15th over).
Stat of the match: Coming into this fixture, Yorkshire (four) and Birmingham (six) had shared 10 totals of 200 or more in this season’s Blast. So it was absolutely no surprise we were treated to a run-fest.
What they said – Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth said: “It was a good wicket, and it felt like the longer I was out there the game was in the balance and even in our favour at one stage. They got 20 too many, unfortunately.
“Look, we know what we need to do at Leicestershire on Sunday. We have to win the game (a tie would also do).
“There were a lot of positives tonight, but unfortunately we didn’t get it right with the ball. The fielding wasn’t to our usual standards, and I was at fault with a couple.
“Unfortunately we fell short with the bat. But that’s T20 cricket.
“We’ll take some positives. Myself and Finn set the tone chasing and got off to a good start. We just needed one of us to go and get 80 or 90, which was needed to win the game.”
What’s next: Yorkshire play their final group game against Leicestershire at Grace Road on Sunday afternoon (2.30pm). It is realistically a must win game. Although a tie or No Result would qualify the Vikings, it is difficult to rely on that eventuality.